NFL teams seeing high early ticket demand despite Covid-19, agency SeatGeek says

Key Points
  • NFL ticket sales in the first 12 hours are up more than 234% from last year, according to ticket broker SeatGeek.
  • Tickets for home games to the Las Vegas Raiders are the most in demand, according to early secondary ticket data provided by SeatGeek.
  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who added star quarterback Tom Brady, are also seeing high volume for their home contests. 
Crews test out architectural light ribbons and exterior sign lighting as construction continues at Allegiant Stadium, the USD 2 billion, glass-domed future home of the Las Vegas Raiders on April 23, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller | Getty Images

Not even one day after the National Football League released its schedule, demand for tickets is notably higher than last year, according to ticket firm SeatGeek

The company, which specializes in mobile-based ticket reselling, provided CNBC data using secondary ticket information for NFL games. Overall NFL ticket sales are up 234% year-over-year compared with the first 12 hours after the schedule release last year, the agency said. One reason could be more fans using the service because of its favorable refund policy.

Also, factors such as relocation, new stadiums and the addition of star players are causing a surge for some NFL teams such as the Raiders, who moved from Oakland, where they played since 1995.

Chris Leyden, a SeatGeek communications official, said the company is surprised by early activity around NFL tickets, especially as Covid-19 continues to create uncertainly around live sports events. In a statement on Thursday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league is "prepared to make adjustments as necessary" should the coronavirus pandemic delay the season.

"While we certainly assumed there would be some level of demand, we have been surprised to see how strong it is, as fans look forward to football this fall," Leyden told CNBC via email. 

The agency says Raiders tickets are showing the highest demand in early sales, with the average price of tickets currently sitting at roughly $588 for games at the new $1.9 billion Allegiant Stadium.

The Raiders open their new home on Sept. 21 against the New Orleans Saints. The contest is also the second-most in-demand individual game, behind the Los Angeles Rams' season opener against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 13, SeatGeek says. The Cowboys' contest at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 8 ranks third-most in-demand.

Speaking of the Rams, SeatGeek says the team has the second-most ticket volume, with an average resale price of $456. The Seattle Seahawks, with an average resale price of $458, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, at $353, sit right behind.

The Tom Brady effect continues to favor the Bucs. The team will appear in four national contests, up from only one last year. The Bucs also added Brady's former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. The Bucs-Saints season opener is the fifth-most in-demand game, SeatGeek says.

Said Leyden: "When it comes to ticket sales, historically the NFL is not as star driven as a league like the NBA, but when you have two of the greatest ever moving teams, you expect to see a spike in fan interest, both at home and on the road."

But while the Bucs are seeing early demand, that can't be said for the Patriots. SeatGeek says the team is seeing an 80% decline in ticket prices year over year. The Cleveland Browns, down 71%, and Washington Redskins, down 62%, round out the biggest drops in sales prices.

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